Our flagship garden, Chamong was also one of the first tea estates to be acquired by the Lohia Group and as such, holds a very special place in our hearts. Amongst the prettiest of our gardens, Chamong's special charm stems from the presence of the little whistling birds that the Lepchas call "Chamoo," who gather here in the summer. The estate is comfortably high in the hills and only a little above a third of its 332 hectares is devoted to the organic tea plantation; the rest is virgin forest land that promises thrills and quietude alike to the sensitive visitor seeking a place away from the madding crowd.

This 120 year-old, heritage tea estate – one of the earliest to commit to 100% organic cultivation – is a rather spectacular sight with its two mountain rivers with their many streams and waterfalls, and its tall and dense natural forests inhabited by a variety of mountain wildlife. The use of hydroelectric power, the lack of pollution and the carefully organic practices of cultivation have all helped create a Himalayan paradise for its mainly Nepali residents who are almost all connected with the plantation one way or the other.

Tumsong, the first of the Chiabari Tea Retreats to be open to the public, started out as a tea garden back in 1867 when the German Wernicke brothers, who had just started on the nearby Lingia garden (now a part of the Chamong Group) planted the estate around a temple to Tamsa Devi, a local deity. The temple stands on a steep slope that rises sharply from 2700 ft to 5500 ft and offers fantastic views of the majestic Kanchenjunga and the Golden Valley of Darjeeling. The locals believe that the goddess Tamsa presides over this serene landscape and in fact, they refer to Tumsong as the Garden of Happy Hearts.

One of the Chamong Group's smaller heritage gardens, Lingia stands in altitudes ranging from 2800 ft to 6000 ft and faces the snow-clad Kanchenjunga. The garden only covers 220 hectares and is planted mainly with the tea that is genetically the closest to the rose bush. The estate is also internationally certified as 100% bio-organic. Always aware of its societal responsibilities, the Chamong Group provides this busy estate's 5000 odd residents free primary education as well as free medical facilities and housing.

The Chamong Group took over this dying historical estate in 2001. Now, as the garden approaches its 150th birthday, it's well on its way to marking the occasion by turning fully bio-organic and its workers are regularly given instruction on the latest techniques on improving quality, production and productivity while maintaining SQF and IMO norms. At 535 hectares, Soom is also one of the Group's larger estates and houses about 7000 people, most of whom are Nepalese or Tibetans.

Chiabari Tea Retreats
High up in the Eastern Himalayas, nestled next to the Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain peak in the world, Darjeeling is about more than a brand of tea or a holiday in a hill town: it's an experience best savoured when the tea and holiday come together – at Tumsong, Chiabari (literally meaning “tea-house”).

This unique region, located at the northern tip of the state of West Bengal in India, is famous throughout the world for the teas produced in the 80 odd gardens here. Some 5000 feet above the sea level, the landscape turns magical. The pure air, the crisp breeze, the soft misting rain all come together in a wonderland where the tea grows with a finer flavour than anywhere else in the world. Tumsong offers fantastic views of the majestic Kanchenjunga and the Golden Valley of Darjeeling. The tea plants here grow very slowly and flavour the entire estate with their aroma. The locals believe that the goddess Tamsa presides over this serene landscape and in fact, the locals refer to Tumsong as the Garden of Happy Hearts. Come find out why.

Other Chiabari Retreats on the cards are:
• Pussimbing – entirely bio-organic and a herbalist's delight
• Lingia – a heritage garden and one of the oldest in the region
• Chamong – of our trademark tea fame
• Marybong – the highest tea garden in the area and a photographer's dream Cuisine

The region offers a unique selection of different cuisines. You can start your day with a hearty English breakfast of sausages, eggs and freshly baked bread. For lunch you may like to sample some Chinese with a distinctly Indian twist – a taste that's wonderful to experience, difficult to describe and impossible to forget. After a siesta or a ramble in the jungle in the afternoon, munch your way through a typical Bengali jol-khabar (literally "water and food", it's a term used for high tea-type snacks like samosas and cutlets). You may choose to dine light and in that case Tibetan cuisine should be your food of choice, especially the lightly steamed momos with their clear, delicious thukpa (soup) on the side.

Our khansamas (cooks) are adept at the various cuisines of the region and make perfect guides for your gastronomic adventures.

Special Packages
At Tumsong Tea Retreat, we have something for everybody. Whether you are planning a corporate get-together or family celebrations, we have the resources you need.

For the nature lovers we can arrange camping trips, hikes around the estate and excursions to local areas of interest. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is at your disposal should you feel like venturing far, and there is a full-time guide on each estate to make your trips both fun and personal. No visit to a Chiabari retreat is complete without our famous Tea Tour: consisting of a visit to the tea factory and an exquisite tea-tasting session. You can plant your own tea bush to mark your visit.

As the sun sets behind the majestic Himalayas, gather round the open fireplace in your room with your companions. Dip into our stock of board games or cuddle up with a book from our well-stocked library.

Your mobile phones can operate on the local networks and email facilities are also available on request. So whether you wish to celebrate promotions at work, a wedding anniversary, a special birthday or your honeymoon – come to us and we'll make it memorable. Not for nothing is Tumsong known in the local folklore as the 'Garden of Happy Hearts'.

The Tumsong Retreat
Tumsong Tea Estate P.O. Tumsong (Ghoom) District Darjeeling 743102 e: p: +91 33 3093 6400 f: +91 33 3093 6433